Monday, August 14, 2023

Media Report: Finland Food Agency To Test All Fur Farms For Avian Flu


Last week Finland's Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) released a statement warning that `. . . circulation of the bird flu virus in farmed fur animals must be stopped in order to prevent the virus from adapting to mammals.'

They urged Finland's Food Safety Authority (Ruokavirasto) to take a more proactive stance to eliminate the threat. 

Today, Finland's state owned National Public Broadcasting system - YLE - is reporting that the Food Agency has revealed plans to test all fur farms in the country, starting in September.  So far, I've not seen a statement by Ruokavirasto on their twitter feed, or on their website.

A link, and a brief (translated) excerpt from the YLE report:

The Swedish Food Agency inspects all fur farms in Finland because of bird flu

Published 14.08.2023 19:17.          

Starting in September, the Swedish Food Agency will inspect all approximately 400 fur farms in Finland. The massive project will take time, as the samples will not arrive at the laboratory at the same time.

The Swedish Food Agency intends to inspect all of Finland's approximately 400 fur farms due to the risk of bird flu.

          (Continue . . . )

Currently, only farms reporting sick animals, or farms directly connected to infected farms, are being tested.  This is a major undertaking, and will probably take a couple of months to complete. 

Last month, in PNAS: Mink Farming Poses Risks for Future Viral Pandemics, we looked at an excellent opinion piece penned by two well known virologists from the UK (Professor Wendy Barclay & Tom Peacockon why fur farms - and mink farms in particular - are high risk venues for flu.

While our focus is on Finland right now, there are thousands of other fur farms across Europe, Russia, China, and North and South America, and all pose similar risks. 

With the fall bird migration about to commence - likely bringing higher levels of environmental H5N1 contamination - that's a lot of potential flash points. 

Stay tuned.